My Scar Stories


The Final Scar?

To read my previous scar stories, click here.

My two greatest hits are on my neck. Oddly, both remind me of God. I wrote previously about one. The other began with a woman doing her lipstick in her rear view mirror as her car sailed blithely into the back of my sardine tin Samurai.

Several bulging neck discs made their debut that day. The pain level was acceptable (sort of). However, if more trauma were to occur, I was told, I could end up paralyzed. Not acceptable. So a discectomy was scheduled.

The day before surgery, I was laid on a tiltable table and my spine was injected with glow-in-the-dark goo in order to create a scenic map of My Spine, USA. I was fine with that. Of course, I was on Valium, so I’d have been fine with them cutting my toes off and selling them to gypsies. The technician warned, “Don’t bend over, if this stuff gets to your brain it’ll give you a horrible headache.” Then he proceeded to tilt me over for 20 minutes.

When the Valium wore off, my brain exploded. After eight hours of sleepless pain, I desperately longed for anesthesia. “How are we doing?” the Doctor asked. “I don’t know about you,” I replied, “but I need to be unconscious. Now!”

When I came to, I discovered a jagged set of railroad tracks below my Adam’s apple, covered over by a plastic replica of Hoover Dam. I had to wear the dam for two months. Every now and then—roughly every 5 minutes—I’d think, “If I don’t rip this thing off I’m going to go howling mad.”

The neck pain subsided, but my head continued to throb, despite the fact that I was on enough oxycodone to set up my own dealership.

It turned out my migraine had nothing to do with the surgery; it was from the accursed spinal scan, and no amount of drugs could fix it. It lived in my head 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If I was conscious, which I generally was since I rarely slept, it was there. It made me so sensitive to light that when I went outside to get the mail I had to wear sunglasses and a hoodie draw-strung to a peephole.

The opiate-induced euphoria was like watching an android cheerleader shout, “Go, team!” while the team was being slaughtered on the field. I wanted to feel something not induced by chemicals. I loved my family, but they were outside. I was alone inside the dam with the non-stop pounding of my brain.

Then, one night, a month into my isolation, I watched the two-part television epic Abraham with my family. In the movie, Abraham is approached by a mysterious king named Melchizedek. Seeing Abraham’s longing for God, Melchizedek observes, “Nothing else matters, does it?” Abraham bursts into tears, and replies, “No! Nothing!”

In that instant, I remembered that I was not alone, that God was with me. Always. I kissed my wife and pulled my kids close, and suddenly they were there inside the barrier with me.

Month two was inexplicably tolerable. By month three, the dam and the headache from hell were gone. But the scar remains, like an Abrahamic altar made of stones. It’s my constant reminder that God is faithful,

And nothing else matters. 

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to My Scar Stories

  1. Reblogged this on Robin Luftig and commented:
    We all find our own reminders that God is all around.

    And truly, nothing else matters.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: My Scar Stories | Mitch Teemley

  3. Katie R. Dale says:

    I enjoyed this scar story Mitch. I can relate to your scars with an invisible scar that I ought to have some sort of Abrahamic altar or milestone marker for the fight I went through. I seriously contemplated a tattoo for the reminder of the hell I went through in the psych ward in 2012. But I’m not much for tattoos. I think the publishing of my memoir about that scar story will be milestone enough. What do you think?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. lifepunchesback says:

    Distracted drivers don’t think of how they can change a persons life in just seconds. Although you had horrible injuries, god helped you and your family through it but not all people are so lucky. Drunk drivers take love ones from people all the time. Yes, definitely embrace your family every day and thank god every morning you wake up. I’m glad you are ok now.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. oneta hayes says:

    I sent your post to my facebook, Mitch. Okay? Sort of late in asking, aren’t I? 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Love this post, Mitch! Profound truth delivered via your wonderful sense of humor! So grateful that God is with us in every storm. God bless you big time!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for sharing that! Touched me.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Mitch Teemley, i Love the way you write….You know this. But i’m telling you again. i’m so glad God made you as He did. Your words never fail to do my heart good.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. brunniegetchell says:

    Thanks for sharing Mitch. We are never alone…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. revruss1220 says:

    An awesome story skillfully told. Powerful truth to be discovered here. Thank you for helping us all discover the hidden holiness in our scars.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great story! Thanks for the reminder that through our trials, God is right there by our side.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thanks, Mitch! As a chronic migraine sufferer, I can identify (except for the wonderful narcotic pain relievers!). I have pain every waking moment, but fortunately, I CAN sleep most nights. The first couple of months were the worst until I learned how to cope with the pain and occasional vertigo. But I’ve come to appreciate some of the lessons I’m learning as a result.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ann Coleman says:

    What a powerful story! And as much as I am loathe to tell others what to believe, I have to admit that it is sometimes hard for me to truly understand people who don’t believe in God at all. Because in my experience, there will always be times in our lives when no one but God can help. And I wonder just exactly how those who don’t believe cope. I know this sounds judgemental, and I really don’t mean it that way…it’s just something that I wonder about.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. nancyehead says:

    Good one, Mitch! Love your posts!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Great post as usual. Entertaining, but great message. Sorry you had to go through that, but wonderful God brought you through.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. nancyehead says:

    Reblogged this on Nancy E. Head and commented:
    A scar as a reminder of God’s faithfulness

    Liked by 1 person

  17. themeonnblog says:

    Thanks for the reminder…beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    You have been through some struggles, but thank you for sharing how the Lord has worked through them all.



    Liked by 1 person

  19. I had no intention of reading all your scar stories, but could not stop. They were so flipping bizarre and funny. I just kept laughing, and then that lovely ending…what a great series! I think 70 or 80 of these would make a great book. Without all the scars, I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

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